Beyond the three anonymous men who comprise the band nobody would seem to know just who the hell Mysteries are. So the Los Angeles based record label Felte – home to PVT, White Hex, Nite Fields and other obscure, assorted atmospheric art rockers and electronic experimentalists – would therefore seem to have been the natural place for the masked trio to leave the demo tape that would ultimately become New Age Music Is Here.
The record stretches over fifty glorious minutes, always one elusive step ahead of the listener as he or she tries to second guess either Mysteries’ next move or their myriad frames of reference. Opening track ‘Introduction (New Age Music Is Here)’ – with its scabrous texture and off-kilter avant-garde rhythm – harks back to an earlier industrial era, yet by the time that the record emerges from this initial gloom it has dramatically side-stepped the gathering crowd and vaulted off in a completely different musical direction.
With a beautifully streamlined synthetic sheen ‘Knight Takes Rook’ musically echoes the singer’s desire to “just feel warmer”. ‘Newly Thrown’ is a perfect pop song, hurried along on its way by an irresistible fusion of piano, synth and drums and the strongest belief in its own innate ability to impart happiness to anyone who is lucky enough to come within earshot of this delightful tune.
Echoes of Cut Copy, The 2 Bears and LCD Soundsystem do occasionally percolate through to the surface but these fleeting glimpses of influence are quickly subsumed by the record’s unfathomable capacity to shift shape. Embracing an eminently suitable Third World funkiness, ‘Authenticity Machine’ briefly mimics the work of David Byrne and Brian Eno on their 1981 ground-breaking collaboration, ‘My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts’. And with its stabbing rhythm and shimmering synth glissando, ‘Motion’ builds a bridge between darkness and light as much as it does the past and the present.
The otherworldliness and beautifully mannered chanson vocals of ‘I Wanna’ is what Associates may have sounded like today if Billy Mackenzie were still with us. ‘Call And Response, With Morals’ features another bravura vocal performance, swooping as it does over a portentous, weary groove. And the concluding majesty of ‘Trust’ takes New Age Music Is Here back from whence it first came as it initially covers itself in a monumental post-industrial grime. The song then pauses for an elongated breath before emerging from its darker shroud with an unabashed sense of triumphant relief. By this time, though, you are so in thrall to the music you have completely given up on trying to figure out just who on earth Mysteries are.
New Age Music Is Here is set for release on 27th October 2014 via the Felte record label.